TV Party - C

COSMIC PSYCHOS - Blokes You Can Trust {MVD} I know more about the reputation of Australia’s COSMIC PSYCHOS than I do about their music. I’ve heard they are beer monsters and were a big influence on Grunge but, up until this point, I really knew little more about them.
The opening sequence of this 90-minute documentary basically reinforced that opinion, as we viewed Grunge Royalty (Eddie Vedder, Butch Vig, MUDHONEY and more) espouse the band’s greatness and influence. Have to say, this came over as a bit corny, almost trying too hard to suggest that as these famous, successful bands loved the PSYCHOS, everyone else should.
The film that followed the build-up is a familiar biographical telling of the band’s 30 year history. It dates right back to 1977 with the forerunners of the band - RANSED SPAM and SPRING PLAINS. As with most of the era who were engulfed by Punk’s aura, none of the members could play. The film then follows the band’s history, discussing each album in turn and mixing straight interview footage with photographic stills and live footage. Many of the stories confirm the band’s prowess as drinkers - be it recording sessions with Butch Vig or frequenting New York S&M clubs. Besides those already mentioned, others interviewed include Steve Albini, L7, Sub Pop’s Jonathan Poneman, MELVINS and Ray from HARD-ONS.
The film, whilst telling the story of the band, also runs a parallel story - that of frontman and mainstay Ross Knight. Most of his interviews were filmed at his family’s farm - which, at the time of filming, was in the middle of a court battle due to his impending divorce. He comes across as a man who likes the simple things in life and speaks with an easy lack of pretension, considering himself to be ‘just a farmer’. We also discover he is a champion power lifter and has a son who has cerebral palsy. In a heart-warmingly intimate scene, Knight states he wants to keep up with the power lifting, as he will need the strength to lift his son as he gets older.
Original drummer, Bill Walsh, is also interviewed in depth. It only becomes apparent in the last 30 minutes as to why his interviews are quite separate from Knight’s. It seems when Walsh left the band, there was some kind of dispute about money and any trust Knight had in Walsh was lost. COSMIC PSYCHOS wrote a song on the following album called ‘Kill Bill’.
Another pivotal moment of the film is when the death of guitarist Robert Watts is discussed. It was a sudden departure and one that still effects all concerned.
There are few full-on musical segments - just snippets of the band playing their pummelling, Aussie Punk. There are no extras either; it would have been interesting and beneficial if some of those musical snippets could’ve been given full coverage as some extras.
As it is, this is an entertaining documentary laden with that unique Australian charm and, given it is the debut work of director Matt Weston, it is one that works well. (28.04.14)

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